The Triumph Thruxton is a series of British parallel-twin motorcycles. The name was first used by Triumph Engineering as Thruxton Bonneville and much later manufactured by Triumph Motorcycles refillable glass bottles. Originally a limited edition production-class racer hand-built by the Triumph factory race shop in 1965 for homologation purposes and entered into British endurance racing by local agents. A modern successor was announced in 2004, and again in 2016.
The air-cooled ‘reborn’ Thruxton 900 was derived from the company’s Bonneville, with hallmark café racer modifications, including rearset footrests, small flyscreen, analogue instruments, reverse-cone exhaust silencers, and seat cowl.
The 2004 model was called the Triumph Thruxton 900, but in 2016 the bike was replaced by two 1200cc water-cooled models, the Triumph Thruxton and Triumph Thruxton R. The standard 1200 Thruxton has conventional cartridge forks and fixed discs, while the “R” has upgraded Öhlins rear suspension with Showa USD “big piston” forks and Brembo front radial calipers with floating discs. The 900 models have a 360° crankshaft water containers for runners, but the new 1200cc bikes have 270° crank. Both 1200 Thruxtons have traction control, ABS waterproof case smartphone, and ride by wire throttles featuring three modes, sport, road, and rain.
The bike is named after Thruxton Circuit, a race track in Hampshire where in 1969 Triumph won the top three places in the Thruxton 500 mile endurance race. These races helped establish the “café racer” era, when standard production motorcycles were modified to improve street and racing performance.
The Thruxton 900 & 1200 models are produced at John Bloor’s Chonburi plant, but the original Thruxton was a special based on the Triumph Bonneville from the factory at Meriden Works, where, from May 1965, Triumph produced 52 tuned Thruxton Bonnies to homologate the type for production racing. The modern Hinckley Thruxtons (and Bonnevilles too) are “softer” and less extreme; whereas the original Thruxton achieved top speeds over 140 mph (230 km/h), the Thruxton 900 manages only 120 mph (190 km/h).
The Thruxton 900 features an engine upgraded from the Bonneville engine of the same model year, with new cams and pistons increased to 90 mm, taking capacity to 865 cc and power up to 70 bhp (52 kW). The frame is a tubular steel cradle with a twin-sided swingarm and traditional spoked wheels, 36-spoke (18 x 2.5 inch) front and 40-spoke (17 x 3.5 inch) rear. Front suspension has 41 mm forks with adjustable pre-loading and rear has chrome spring twin shock absorbers with adjustable pre-load. Front brakes are a single 320 mm floating disc and rear a smaller 255 mm disc, both with twin piston callipers.
The Hinckley factory began making modern triples such as the Trident and Daytona 675, and although the inspiration was perhaps the Meriden Trident, no attempt has been made to link the new bike with the old. By contrast, when the Hinkley factory started to produce its parallel twins, it was deemed vital to make the new “retro” bikes appear similar to the Meriden predecessors. For instance, the “timing chest” is still on the right, and the “primary chaincase” is on the left (needing the rear chain drive to move to the right), twin “rocker boxes”, a R/H side panel resembling a dry-sump oil tank, and although the engines are fuel-injected, the injectors are made to resemble carburettors.
The Thruxton 900 was reviewed by The Daily Telegraph in 2014, saying: “It’s easy to understand why the Thruxton’s blend of retro style, gentle performance and practicality, combined with a reasonable price, have made it a long-running success”.
The 1200 Thruxton 1200R was reviewed by Motor Cycle News in 2016, saying “The styling and attention to detail lavished on the Thruxton is second to none. The R’s handling is right out of the top drawer thanks to excellent brakes, suspension and chassis balance and the electronics marry the whole package together. “.
In 2005, Triumph Motorcycles (America) Ltd. and the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association (AHRMA) developed the Triumph Thruxton Cup Challenge at Pueblo Motorsports Park in Colorado as a “spec” class race limited to the Triumph Thruxton 900. Ted “Cannonball” Cobb, won the inaugural cup.